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Perfect scorelines on breezy day 2 at the Vice Admiral's Cup

Tony Mack's McFly scorches ahead to take the lead in the J/111s - copyright Rick Tomlinson

Conditions turned autumnal for day two of the Vice Admirals' Cup. With seven fleets competing at the RORC's annual regatta for invited one design and level rating classes, today crews found themselves wrestling their boats around the courses in 15-20 knot winds until a squall caused conditions to gust up to 28 knots, plus rain and reducing visibility.

Some clearly enjoyed the brisk conditions with Invictus claiming both today's coastal races in the FAST 40+, while Tony Mack's McFly scored three bullets to take the lead in the J/111s and Richard Powell's Marvel managed a perfect scoreline in the SB20's three races. "It was good - we are very happy," said Marvel crewman Ben Vines. "We got fairly lit up at times. We had a couple of hairy moments. There were big gusts coming through unexpectedly."

Marvel has now pulled out a five point lead over Jerry Hill's Of the squall in the race three, Vines said: "We got most of the breeze just before it and we then went downwind in the rain. It was quite breezy - the gusts were real bullets. Our top speed was about 16 knots."

After her stand out Friday, Simon Perry's Jiraffe found it harder going today but has managed to retain the lead in the J/109s. John Smart's Juke Box was the lowest scorer winning today's opening race, with David Richards' Jumping Jellyfish and Robert Stiles' Diamond Jem claiming honours in the subsequent two.

However in the J/111s Tony Mack and his crew on McFly blitzed it, scoring three bullets and taking the lead. "It was lovely sailing - we are delighted with our result," said Mack. "Sometimes I think things just go well for you and you make the right calls and other days you don't seem to. Perhaps that is why we keep coming back!"
The J/111s sailed two windward-leewards today ending the day with a round the cans course that was shortened at Gurnard Ledge. Even the invincible McFly had her upsets including one wild broach coming out of a gybe. While the results indicate otherwise, racing among the J/111s was still close. "You had to try until the very end. In the J/111s there are some very good owner-drivers," concluded Mack.

2017 vac fast40 invictus rtBig speeds in big winds for Invictus in the FAST 40+ fleet - copyright Rick Tomlinson

The eleven FAST 40+s spent the day thundering about the western Solent completing two 15-16 mile long round the cans courses, starting off Beaulieu with the last race finishing off Cowes. After a disappointing start to the Vice Admiral's Cup, Invictus won both today's races by a handsome margin.
"Today was really good fun - conditions were great," enthused Sir Keith Mills' son Alex, helmsman here. "We have always been good at reaching starts and we got a massive lead straight out of the blocks."

While Invictus won today's first race by almost three and a half minutes on the water, in the second it was close with Johnny Vincent's Pace initially fastest only to suffer a broach that allowed Invictus to pull ahead. With yesterday's leader, Stewart Whitehead's Rebellion, having a zero or hero regatta, so Invictus has taken the lead, now two points ahead of Tony Dickin's Jubilee.

2017 vac 2 diam24 rtPowering up in the Diam24ods - copyright Rick Tomlinson

If the FAST 40+s were hitting impressive speeds, the Diam 24od trimarans outstripped them. They sailed two long courses, of 15 miles and six miles, the former taking them deep into the eastern Solent. Piers Hugh Smith's Maverick SSR almost scored two bullets but the British campaign, due to take part in the Voile de France a la Voile this July, accidentally failed to complete the course in race one.
"We saw a 30 second average of 19.7 knots and a peak speed of 21," said Smith. "We were hoping to be in the top cluster of boats. It was nice to consistently have good speed and good results."

As usual the racing was closest in the Quarter Tonners where favourite, Sam Laidlaw's Aguila was top scorer of the day, winning the last windward-leeward. Aguila is now four points ahead of Louise Morton's Bullit. Today's other winners were the Southworth's Whiskers and Tom Daniels' Tiger.

Today was a case of minimising handling errors even on the immaculately sailed Aguila. After seeing 24 knots they blew up their vang during a gybe. "We just hobbled over the line but fortunately we were far enough ahead to hold our position," recounted Laidlaw.

In the Impalas Ben Meakins and Polly's run of four bullets was finally broken by Oliver Love's Two Frank. "It was great racing," said Love. "Getting 11 knots out of an Impala is quite good, surfing down waves and now we are back in contention to win."

Racing continues tomorrow at 1030 BST with the final three races to be sailed in the FAST 40+ and Diam 24od and two in the remaining classes.

Trail blazing Vice Admiral’s Cup opening day

Louise Morton's all girls team racing the Quarter Tonner Bullit - photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson

The Solent laid on perfect conditions for day one of the Vice Admiral’s Cup with brilliant sunshine, wind that built from 10 knots to 20 through the afternoon, building up a steep chop that was enough to cause crews to struggle to keep boats beneath rigs.

Among the seven fleets competing at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s annual regatta for invited one design and level rating classes, it was Ben Meakins on Polly that ended day one with the best scoreline, winning all three races among the seven Impala 28s. Meanwhile Martin Dent on the Jelvis repeated his World Championship-winning form posting a 1-3-1 to lead the J/111 Class, but by just one point from Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug. Simon Perry and the crew on Jiraffe did one better to lead the J/109 class with a 2-1-1 scoreline, which Perry reckoned was the best his team had ever managed, albeit coming straight out of a win at Warsash Spring Series: "We’re savouring the moment. What we enjoy most is sailing with a good group of boats."

2017 vac 1 fast40fleet rtThe Fast40+ fleet is lead after day one by Stewart Whitehead’s Carkeek 40 Rebellion- photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson

In the eleven boat FAST 40+ fleet the day ended with Stewart Whitehead’s Carkeek 40 Rebellion tied with the modified former GP42, Jubilee, of Tony Dickin. However the day really belonged to Whitehead’s team and their green hulled flying machine after winning today’s first two races before being beset with jib halyard problems on their run into the start line of race three. They had to send a man aloft to retrieve the halyard and once racing again only recover to 10th.

"Overall we’re happy," concluded Whitehead. "Paul Willcox [tactician] got us off the start line well in the first and second races." The mods made to Rebellion over the winter, that include a new stiffer keel fin similar to the latest Carkeek design, also seem to be paying. "Now we have reasonable pace. We just need to put ourselves in the right place and sail well."

With Jubilee winning today’s final race, so the form in the FAST 40+ class seems to be markedly different to last season. "It is great," confirms Whitehead. "All of the boats have made modifications and the difference between them is relatively minimal now. In our third race - before we might have expected to take back three or four places. Now that is nigh on impossible."

2017 vac 1 diam24 buzz race team rtUK Diam 24 importer, Paul Wakelin’s Fluid Boat Services Buzz, lies in second place after day 1 of the regatta- photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson

The fastest boats on the race course today were the Diam 24od trimarans which as the wind and sea picked up were hitting 20+ knot speeds, their crews frequently engulfed in balls of spray. Three different boats won today, but the scores show a two horse race with Matthew Muhlenkamp’s Diam 24 Charter leading UK importer Paul Wakelin’s Fluid Boat Services, Buzz by a single point.

2017 vac 1 sb20 marvel rtAfter day one of the Vice Admiral's Cup Richard Powell’s Marvel leads by one point from David Chapman’s Aussie team on Export Roo- photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson

This is also the case in the SB20s where Richard Powell’s Marvel leads by one point from David Chapman’s Aussie team on Export Roo. It was former World Champion Jerry Hill on that claimed the first race, despite sailing a boat only launched yesterday. All was going well until the second race: "We got the leeward gate all wrong and had to unwind ourselves," admitted Hill. "Plus our rig was all over the place. Otherwise it was nice weather and great to shake the cobwebs out."

Some of the stiffest competition was in the Quarter Ton class where already the favourite, Sam Laidlaw and Aguila, have pulled out a four point lead after scoring 2-3-2 today. There were three different winners with William McNeill’s Illegal Immigrant claiming the first race and Ian Southworth’s Whiskers enjoying the brisk conditions in race three. These two boats are tied on 11 points with former Coutts Quarter Ton Cup winner Louise Morton’s all-female crew on Bullit, winner of the second race.

"It was a lovely day on the water - 15 knots, bright sunshine – what’s not to like?" said Lucy Macgregor, former Match Racing World Champion, who is calling tactics on Bullit. "We had some great racing today, the best so far this season and all of the top boats are out." Bullit won race two by getting a good start and then benefitting from a good layline call into the top mark. Bullit’s all-female is on rotation this week with Paralympic Gold medallist Helena Lucas on board tomorrow.

Other VIPs in the Quarter Ton class today included Ian Walker sailing on board Tom Hill’s Belinda, currently lying 10th. Today the double Olympic medallist and Volvo Ocean Race winner found himself second from the front. "I got wet feet – and blisters! And I had to go up the rig to change the D2!" he complained once ashore. "But It is good close racing - the standard is good."

Racing continues tomorrow with some round the cans courses in the western Solent at the early start time of 1030 BST.

Champions galore at the Vice Admiral’s Cup

High podium expectations for Impala 28 Two Frank -copyright Rick Tomlinson

The Vice Admirals' Cup fires up on Friday with three days of racing on the Solent for the seven invited classes.

While the Diam24od multihulls will be showing a clean pair of heels to the fleet, another class competing at the Vice Admiral's Cup for the first time is the Impala 28. 40 years ago the David Thomas-penned One Design won the backing of the 'Offshore One Design Council' in its quest to promote offshore racing. With the first boats launched by Hunter Yachts two years later, it has since proved one of the top designs of its era.

Due to encouragement from Class Captain Ben Meakins and other owners, the Impala 28 is going through a resurgence with 16 boats expected at this year's Nationals and 12 regularly racing out of the Hamble. Six are competing in the Vice Admirals' Cup, including Fearnought, last year's National Champion, now in the hands of another National Champion, Mike Jones, and Two Frank, current leader in the JOG Series and also a past National Champion. Another to watch is David Thomas' own boat of old, Trudi, named after his wife and now campaigned by Chris Williams.

As Meakins puts it: "There aren't many boats where you can race one design, offshore and inshore and go cruising for £10k!"

2017 vac j109 jumping jellyfish rtJumping Jellyfish hopes to show last year's National Champs podium form again - copyright Rick Tomlinson

J/Boats are represented by the J/109 and J/111 with five of the former and six of the latter entered. Among the J/109s are the second and third placed finishers from last year's Nationals: Robert Stiles' Diamond Jem and David Richards' Jumping Jellyfish. The J/111 line-up includes reigning World Champion, Martin Dent with Jelvis.

Campaigning the J/111 since 2014, Dent typically sails with a young team, including family and students. He reckons being World Champion means nothing: "It is a good fleet and we'll be struggling again against the top teams, like Tony Mack in McFly, Cornel [Riklin] in Jitterbug and [Chris Jones'] Journeymaker II."
The Vice Admiral's Cup is becoming a must-do regatta for the J/111s as it is the first event of the year they sail under class rules (as opposed to IRC), limiting their sail inventory and to sailing with one 'pro' on board. Dent also likes it being a three day event..."that's better than two and the Vice Admiral's Cup has always got good race management."

2017 vac j111 jelvis rtJelvis can expect fast action in the J111 fleet - copyright Rick Tomlinson

As to J/111 racing, Dent continues: "It is such good fun: You put the kite up and start ripping downwind at 16-17 knots, and you think 'great – we're going really fast', but then you find that everyone arrives at the same time at the leeward mark. It never a procession, there are always lead changes."

While the twelve FAST40+ boats will be hogging the limelight, the SB20 one design will be providing its normal delicious recipe of high performance bang for buck. For the nine SB20s competing, the Vice Admiral's Cup will be their first competitive outing in what will be a big season with the World Championship set to be held on the Solent at the end of August with 100+ boats from 16-18 countries competing.

According Jerry Hill of Sportsboatworld, who have been marketing the SB20 since 2012, there are likely to be three stand-out boats competing at Vice Admirals Cup: Richard Powell's Marvel on which Ben Vines sails, Export Roo, an Australian boat campaigned by pro David Chapman and his own – Hill was World Champion in 2010. The Vice Admiral's Cup will provide an opportunity for UK crew to get some much needed practice in if they are to go up against the powerful, French, Russian and Aussie teams later in the year.

2017 vac here comes bod rtThere should be thrills like this for the nine-strong SB20 fleet - copyright Rick Tomlinson

In the mix will be Charlie Whelan on Here Comes Bod. Whelan has been in the class, on and off for a decade but describes his level of competition in football terms as "Championship, not Premiership." Whelan rates Hill for Vice Admiral's Cup victory but acknowledges Export Roo as the dark horse.

As to the SB20 he says: "It still puts a massive smile on my face. We last sailed at the Nationals in Torquay in October. We didn't do particularly well, but we had a blast. In big waves and lot of wind - the boats are just a hoot. They are so easy to sail that you can just step in and out of them and if you know roughly what you're going you can compete moderately well."

The Vice Admiral's Cup will comprise up to eight races on a mix of windward-leeward or round the cans courses.

Dream Pearls takes the De Guingand Bowl

Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls wins the RORC De Guingand Bowl - photo JPK

Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls has won the Royal Ocean Racing Club's De Guingand Bowl Race. In second place was Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew and third overall was the British Two Handed team of Ian Hoddle and Ollie Wyatt, racing Sunfast 3600 Game On.

Line Honours for the De Guingand Bowl Race went to Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51 Tonnerre de Breskens, 36 minutes ahead of their nearest rival, Daniel Hardy's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa. After IRC time correction Lady Mariposa was the winner the big boat class, IRC Zero.

"A very competitive race for us and we are delighted to win the first race of our campaign for the Rolex Fastnet Race" commented Dream Pearls' Christian Maby. "We were happy with our speed and we made some very good decisions with sail selection, especially using our Code Zero on the leg back to St. Catherine's Point. If there was one part of the race that we made significant gains it was there. When we finished, we could see boats around us in IRC Two, so we knew we had done well, but to win is fantastic for the team, and this will give us good hope for the season."

IRC Three was the biggest class with 27 yachts competing; Dream Pearls took the class win, as well as the overall with Game On second and Thomas Kneen's JPK 10.80 Sunrise in third.

2017 dgb ian hoddle game on photo ian hoddleIan Hoddle, racing his Sun Fast 3600 Game On, with Ollie Wyatt won the IRC Two-Handed Division and were third overall in the RORC De Guingand Bowl

Ian Hoddle's Game On had a terrific race, winning the 20-strong IRC Two Handed Class and placing third overall. However Game On was pushed all the way. In IRC Two Handed Nigel De Quervain Colley's Fastrak XI was only two minutes behind and Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded less than three minutes, after IRC time correction.

"Having been beaten by Bellino and Redshift in the Cervantes Trophy, we were keen to strike back immediately" commented Ian Hoddle. "We nailed a more aggressive start, which paid off as we were in the leading pack on the kite-leg down to the forts. The intensity of competition in the Two Handed fleet is such that a good start can make all the difference. North Head was the low point of our race; a broken jib shackle delayed our kite hoist and the time to fix it and a foul tide punished us. At this point the competition had all positioned themselves for the maximum tide running out of Portland. We continued across to Swanage to see if the anticipated lift provided gains; and it worked to a tee. We made the East Shingles Buoy without a tack and even got the Code Zero aloft! Both Ollie and I had certainly left nothing on the table and by 2am we were exhausted!! Ollie and I last raced together back in 2011. I have never seen someone with so much energy - he literally never stops working around the boat - like a machine :)"

Congratulations to Angus Bates' J/133 Assarain IV, winner of IRC One, Nick & Suzi Jones' First 44.7 Lisa, winner of IRC Two, and Antoine Magre's Palanad II, winner of the Class40 Division. The next race in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the Myth of Malham. Mirroring the start of the Rolex Fastnet course, the 256 nautical mile race around the Eddytstone Lighthouse, will be the first weighted race of the championship, with a points factor of 1.2.

New multihull sportboat class for the Vice Admiral’s Cup

Diam 24od Team Maverick will compete in the RORC Vice Admiral's Cup

Having helped rejuvenate the Tour de France à la Voile in 2015, Diam 24 one design will make its debut on the Solent over 19-21st May at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Vice Admiral’s Cup.
The 7.25m by 5.62m one design is from the drawing board of VPLP, who has penned many top offshore multihulls such as the MOD70 and all recent Jules Verne Trophy record holders. Significantly the Diam24od is the first multihull class to be invited to compete in the Vice Admiral’s Cup, the annual one design/level rating regatta, celebrating its 12th birthday this year.

2017 vac diam24 fleet photo stan thuretThe Diam24od fleet will be in action at the RORC Vice Admiral's Cup - Credit Stan Thuret

Five Diam24ods from the UK are entered in the Vice Admiral’s Cup, plus another two coming from the boat’s builder in France, where the boat has struck a chord with fleet numbers in the Tour de France, rapidly swelling. Now the boat is taking hold in the UK, the present embryonic fleet mostly sailing out of Hamble Point Marina. "They can do around 25 knots, maybe a little more in flat water," says UK importer, Paul Wakelin of Fluid Boat Services, explaining their appeal.

Among the Diam24ods entered in the Vice Admiral’s Cup is Team Maverick SSR, campaigned by Piers Hugh Smith, bowman on the Infiniti 46, Maverick. This summer he will be leading the first British team in the Tour de France à la Voile for at least a decade, with his boat sailing with the RORC as its nominated club.
Team Maverick SSR is a youth team, meaning that their oldest sailor is 27. Smith, who is currently at university in Portsmouth, and his crew are either students or have recently graduated.
While the Diam24od held their first regatta in the UK at Poole Week last year, the RORC’s Vice Admiral’s Cup will be their first official outing on the Solent. "This will be our first formal race having been sailing the boat for just under a year," says Smith.

Peter Morton with his wife, Louise, originally created the Vice Admiral’s Cup for one design and level rating classes or tightly grouped handicap classes, or as he puts it: "To fill a gap that the Admiral’s Cup left behind. With the handicap classes, we wanted to try and narrow it right down so there was more boat-on-boat racing."

Classes are invited to complete at the Vice Admiral’s Cup and over the years they have moved with the times, the Diam24od being the event’s very latest class.

Both Mortons are competing once again this year. The event was supposed to have marked the debut for Peter’s brand new Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls on Film, in the FAST 40+ class. However the boat’s arrival has been delayed, so for the Vice Admiral’s Cup Morton has chartered Andrew Pearce’s Ker 40+, Magnum 4. "It’s the first scoring event in the FAST40+. Fortunately points are attributed to owners and teams rather than individual boats, so we can carry the points over," he explains. The boat is likely to be remained Girls on Magnum for the event while also providing Morton with the opportunity to see how the other half live on a Ker (rather than Carkeek) design.

2017 vac invictus photo rtSir Keith Mills' Ker 40+ Invictus will go into the VAC on top form - Credit Rick Tomlinson

FAST40+ Class President, Robert Greenhalgh is expecting 10 FAST40+s at the Vice Admiral’s Cup. As to the form boats, Morton can never be discounted, while the boat Greenhalgh sails on, Sir Keith Mills’ Ker 40+ Invictus, won the RORC Easter Challenge and Morton’s 2016 boat, now Bas de Voogd's Hitchhiker, won the FAST40+ Spring Regatta. "It looks like it will be a competitive fleet," says Greenhalgh. "There are plenty of boats and they’re all trying hard. This year you could easily get a tenth in a race, because every boat is so good."

Louise Morton will once again be campaigning in the Quarter Ton class. While her Bullit is the defending Coutts Quarter Ton Cup champion, Louise has not had it her own way so far this year with Sam Laidlaw’s Aguila winning both the RORC Easter Challenge and the Warsash Spring Series. "They are putting a lot of time and effort into it - they are always out there sailing," Louise observes. However she is confident of the prospects of her all-female team that includes Paralympic medallist Helena Lucas and Women’s Match Racing World Champion Lucy Macgregor. At least ten Quarter Tonners are expected to compete at the Vice Admiral’s Cup, including Aguila and Bullit plus a couple of new additions to the fleet. As to the event which they conceived, Louise says: "We were very proud of it and we like to keep an eye on it!"

2017 vac aguila photo rtSam Laidlaw's Aguila will compete in the Quarter Ton Class - Credit Rick Tomlinson

Other classes competing at the Vice Admiral’s Cup are the J/109 and J/111, the Impala and SB20.

RORC De Guingand Bowl Race Preview

Ker 46 - Lady Mariposa will be the scratch boat for the 2017 De Guingand Bowl Race - photo Waterline Media

Start: Saturday May 13, 2017
Flexi-Course starting from Royal Yacht Squadron Line

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's offshore racing season continues this weekend with the 4th race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. Over 80 yachts are expected to take part with the vast majority of the crews made up of passionate Corinthian sailors with their own set of goals.

Designed to last 24-36 hours, the De Guingand Bowl Race starts and finishes in the Solent and is a flexi-course allowing the Royal Ocean Racing Club to design a bespoke course. "Without the constraint of finishing the race in a totally different location, we concentrate on the weather and tidal conditions to decide the course," explains RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "We try to get all of the fleet to finish the first beat in the same tidal vector, so as to avoid a tidal gate early in the race."

In IRC Zero, Daniel Hardy's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa is the fastest yacht rated under the IRC rating system. However, several yachts in IRC One could challenge Lady Mariposa for Line Honours including Alan Hannon's RP45 Katsu, Edward Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII, and Tor McLaren's MAT 1180 Gallivanter.

In IRC Two, Richard Neocleous' Ocean 55 Julia returns after its debut in last season's championship. The crew come from Hertfordshire and 18 year old Louie Neocleous will skipper Julia as he did last year.

2017 dgb julia rorc racing photo richard neocleousRichard Neocleous' Ocean 55 Julia returns after its debut in last season's championship

"2016 was a great opportunity to put the team together and we all learnt a huge amount throughout the season" commented Louie. "This year we are back to race much more competitively, we have a permanent race crew of 8. The remaining 6 crew are all friends, the boat's mate, Simon Jackson and I have crossed the Atlantic together and built a great relationship for the races. Last year, we were just beginners in terms of racing, our best result was 25th out of 86 boats in the Cervantes Trophy. This year, we hope to achieve better results on a consistent basis."
In IRC Three, Trevor Sainty and Simon Forbes Jalenko is one of many J/109s that will be racing with the RORC this season. The crew have been together for about ten years and did their first Rolex Fastnet with Jalenko in 2015. The De Guingand Bowl Race is part of the teams programme for another crack at the Rolex Fastnet.
"All amateurs and we are all friends, most of the time" smiled Trevor. "I am a veterinary surgeon working with horses, Simon works in the City, and the rest of the group are from the South of England and London, working in banking and IT. Our aim is to be top J/109 this season and improve our Fastnet finishing position by winning it of course. This will be my eighth consecutive Fastnet and last! - I said that last time."
In IRC Four Dave Cooper & Paul England will be racing their Dehler 38 Longue Pierre. This will be their first RORC race this season, as part of their 2017 RORC Season Points Championship campaign.
"2017 is the 10th anniversary of us having won the great bowl overall" commented Dave Cooper. This race will continue our rivalry with the Swan Xara. In 2016, we finished on equal points in JOG and the rivalry continues in both JOG and RORC this year. Longue Pierre is approaching her 30th birthday and has spent all of the last 30 years RORC racing."

The 2017 De Guingand Bowl Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes on Saturday 13th May.

Dr. Jason Smithwick to become Director of Rating for IRC

Dr. Jason Smithwick, the new Technical Director of IRC

The Lymington (UK) based Rating Office, headquarters of the world’s most popular rating system IRC, is to be managed by Dr Jason Smithwick. Following on from academia, roles in the research industry and sailing’s international federation Smithwick will take up his post at the head of a team of four full-time staff and several external consultants on 3rd July this year.

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Pintia Retains Cervantes Trophy

The start of the 2017 Cervantes Trophy Race - photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson

The European season of offshore racing with the Royal Ocean Club started with 100 yachts competing for the Cervantes Trophy race organised in association with the UNCL and the destination yacht club Société des Regates du Havre. The 160 nautical mile race started on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line to the east. Leaving Owers to port, Rustington to starboard, A5 then General Metzinger to port and finish.

Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott reported: “The start was delayed by ten minutes due to a container ship going through then they all got away. A southerly wind of ten knots increased to about 15 knots giving a fast passage to Owers. As the fleet passed Owers the wind began to fade before building to 20 knots from the east.”

It was Gilles Fournier's J/133 Pintia who took Class 2 line honours and was the class and overall winner of the Cervantes Trophy on corrected time. Gilles races with a crew of family and friends based in Le Havre so the Cervantes Trophy Race is a firm favourite and as ever they proved most popular winners in their home club. Having won the class trophy 3 times, Gilles joked with the RORC Commodore at prize giving about how many times he would have to win the trophy before he could keep it!

Last year's overall champion, First 44.7 Lisa, sailed by RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd was second in IRC Class 2 edging out Ed Fishwick's Two Handed entry Redshift Reloaded.

2017 cervantes pomeroy swan ricktomlinsonPaul Kavanagh's Swan 44, Pomeroy Swan, winner of IRC Class 4 and second overall in the Cervantes Trophy Race - photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson

The top three yachts in IRC Four excelled in the race, finishing with site of each other and likely to be aware that the class winner would have made a strong challenge for the race win overall. Noel Racine's JPK 1010 Foggy Dew crossed the line just over 16 hours into the race. Just 15 minutes behind Foggy Dew, Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan was locked in a duel with Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome. Pomeroy Swan crossed the line just a minute ahead of Winsome to take the IRC class win and second overall in the Cervantes Trophy Race.

“I bought the boat three years ago with the intention of cruising her with a bit of racing, we have a couple of good guys on board including Andy Greenwood who is a professional but the rest are very much family and friends” commented Pomeroy Swan's owner, Paul Kavanagh. “I did the Fastnet Race about ten years ago with a charter company and I have always fancied skippering a Fastnet boat myself, so that is the aim this year. Unfortunately, we couldn't spend the time to stop in Le Havre after the race and turned back after the finish. I got my head down and when I woke up the crew told me we had won. To be honest, I was brutally surprised, this is the first offshore race the boat has ever done!”

The 20 strong IRC Two Handed Class featured an epic battle for the class win and podium positions. Ed Fishwick's Sunfast 3600 Redshift Reloaded took line honours by just over two minutes but on time correction it was not enough to better Rob Craigie's corrected time racing Sunfast 3600 Bellino, along with crew Deborah Fish. Stephen Hopson's JPK 1080 Blue Note was third.

“For us the key moment in the race was staying high on the reach to Owers, i looked like a flyer but paid off when the wind headed.” revealed Rob Craigie. “Why do we race Two Handed? Well we find it much more satisfying, as we are always fully engaged with both the boat and the racing and it also removes the overhead and stress of a bigger crew!”

The cold but brisk easterly wind provided for a fast broad reach across the English Channel, Derek Saunders CM60 Venomous took Line Honours and IRC Zero, completing the course in just over 13 hours. The seven Class40s racing had an epic speed battle with the entire fleet finishing within 42 minutes of each other. Adriaan van Oord's Moonpalace sailed by Roeland Franssens took the gun for the Class40s by just over three minutes from Maxime Cauwe's Espoir. Peter Harding's Phor-ty, sailed by Pip Hare was just 39 seconds behind in third.

In IRC 1, Jack Pringle's first RORC race in his First 50 Avatar was a memorable one. The British team were beaten to the line by one second by Maxime de Mareui's xP-44 Orange Mecanix2. However, after time correction Avatar was the winner by less than two minutes. Edmund Hall's MAT 12 Night Owl II was third.

In IRC 3, Ben Morris' swan 55 yawl Lulotte revelled in the reaching condition to win the class. Rob Craigie's Sunfast 3600 Bellino was second with Thomas Kneen' JPK 1080 Sunrise third.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the De Guingand Bowl Race, starting on Saturday May 13, 2017.

2017 cervantes trophies c lechvreThe Cervantes Race Trophies ready for presentation in Le Havre - photo Christophe Lechevre

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 +44 (0) 20 7493 2248
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
Royal Ocean Racing Club
(Racing Enquiries)

82 High Street
Isle of Wight
PO31 7AJ

 +44 (0) 1983 295 144
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
RORC Cowes Clubhouse

The Parade
Isle of Wight
PO31 7QU

 +44 (0) 1983 293581
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
RORC Rating Office
(Seahorse Rating Ltd)

Seahorse Building, Bath Road
Lymington, Hampshire
SO41 3SE

 +44 (0) 1590 677030
 +44 (0) 1590 679478

Royal Ocean Racing Club - since 1925

The RORC was founded in 1925 to encourage long distance yacht racing and the design, building and navigation of sailing vessels in which speed and seaworthiness are combined. Today the club encourages ocean, long distance and other forms of yacht racing and yachting activity.